BY Anthony Saccone
On Jan. 26, Lauren Somers broke the McCann Natatorium 50-yard freestyle pool record with a time of 24.10 seconds. The record was previously held by Long Island University (LIU) of Brooklyn’s Bri Vega, which was 24.18 seconds.
Somers, a junior at Sacred Heart University, has been a leading force for the swimming and diving team.
“I was very excited about breaking the 50-freestyle pool record, as I had been trying to get the record for some time now,” said Somers. “Vega is one of the best 50 freestylers in the conference, so to break the record that she set was amazing.”
Somers’ times in the pool have continued to improve over the course of her career.
“With the guidance of my coaches and the support of my team, I have been able to break pool records and receive Northeast Conference (NEC) Swimmer of the Week honors on multiple occasions,” said Somers. “I can’t stress enough how essential my teammates and coaches have been in my success here at SHU so far.”
The swimming and diving team is in the home stretch of their season and head coach John Spadafina hopes Somers’ success translates to team success.
“I actually was surprised when Lauren set the record,” said Spadafina. “At this time of year, swimmers are a little bit broken down and a little more tired. Sometimes speed is not quite there, but for Lauren to break the pool record a week after she was sick was very special.”
Once Somers finished her record-breaking race, Spadafina was among the first to realize what she had accomplished.
“I immediately went to the announcer and said, ‘that’s a pool record,’” said Spadafina. “And I knew she was extremely happy with her record at that time because it was just as fast as what she was doing earlier in the season.”
Sophomore Emily Peters, a teammate and close friend of Somers, was also there to witness the event.
“I knew she really wanted to break the record for a while,” said Peter. “It’s been her goal and I was so excited she was able to do it at our second to last home meet.”
Somers’ teammates look up to her for the way she carries herself both in and out of the pool.
“She’s a great teammate, always cheering for her teammates, and you will always see her standing at the end of someone’s lane yelling for them,” said Peters. “We train together every day and she always pushes me to be better, pushes everyone else to be better, and she is always high-fiving everyone which really makes the sport fun for all of us.”
Somers, who is a nursing student, manages to balance time for both schoolwork and swimming.
“Balancing both nursing and swimming can be tricky at times. They both require a lot of work and focus so it is easy to get overwhelmed at times,” said Somers. “But I enjoy nursing and swimming so much that I always find a way to make the two work.”
The Pioneers will return to the pool from Feb. 13-16, at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, NY., where they will compete in the NEC Championship.